Pipeline, Issue #478


I'm running shorter on time this week than usual, so I'm only going to cover the Marvel and DC announcements in the latest issue of PREVIEWS (for October shipments). Hopefully, we'll be back on schedule next week with the rest of the catalog, some reviews, and whatever else comes up along the way.

As always, I heartily recommend picking up a copy of PREVIEWS for yourself and pre-ordering the books that sound interesting to you. That's the best way to support the creators and publishers and your own self-interest in finding new reading material.

We'll begin with Marvel, whose publishing programs raise all sorts of flags for me this month.

They're trying to confuse us all, to start, with hardcover editions of both WOLVERINE: ORIGIN and WOLVERINE: ORIGINS. The singular is the new Premiere Edition hardcover collection of the Paul Jenkins/Andy Kubert book from a few years back that gave us Wolverine's childhood adventure. The book was originally reprinted in oversized hardcover format, but that's been out of print for awhile. Now, you can get the whole thing for just $20 at the smaller size.

The second book -- note the "Origins" plural -- is the first five issues of Daniel Way's current series, looking back at Wolverine's overall history. This one is drawn by Steve Dillon, but also runs $20.

If that's not enough Wolverine for you, the WOLVERINE: ENEMY OF THE STATE: THE COMPLETE EDITION hardcover collects Mark Millar's enjoyable 13 issue run on the series into one big book. Previously, Marvel issued two smaller Premiere Edition hardcovers collecting the storyline. I liked it, but not enough to buy it again. I'd much rather have John Romita Jr.'s artwork at this larger size, but I'm well beyond the stage in life where I'm getting suckered into buying something like this twice.

But, wait! There's more! Seven more hardcovers are listed in Marvel's solicitations this month. Are they making sure retailers are stocked up for Christmas? Is it just coincidental timing? Are they trying to bankrupt us?

Two of those seven books are in the Marvel Masterworks line, which doesn't interest me all that much.

A collection of SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Angel Medina isn't a necessity for my bookshelf.

The long-awaited YOUNG AVENGERS Volume 2, though, is. It's the thickest Premiere Edition hardcover I've seen yet. It covers 6 issues, plus the story from the YOUNG AVENGERS SPECIAL. That's 184 page for the slightly larger $23 price tag.

If, years ago, you chose to wait for a collection of Joe Quesada's DAREDEVIL: FATHER, it looks like you might get it in October. This is a full-blown oversized hardcover for $25. Let's hope it ships on time.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN Volume 7 hardcover gives us issues #72-85 for the usual $30 tag.

Finally, the most impressive and most surprising hardcover of the month has to be MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN Volume 1. This is a series done for the kids and reprinted in digest-sized trade paperbacks to keep the prices down. It's always been aimed that way, but the solid done-in-one stories and strong artwork definitely struck a chord with long-time Spidey fans who don't necessarily always want angst-ridden multi-issue drama fests with totems, new costumes, and dead girlfriends having icky sex. Kitty Fross, Erica David, and Sean McKeever contribute stories to the book, but it's the artwork from Comic Book Idol winner Patrick Scherberger that steals the show. I can't wait to see how it looks at this larger page size.

Since it only collects eight issues, you get a bonus lower price of $20. Considering the Premiere Edition hardcovers have smaller page sizes and often don't collect more than five issues of comics, that's a nice price point. I'm sure the fact that this is about the fourth reprinting of this work helps keep the price down.

I ran into Scherberger on the con floor in San Diego last weekend. He's a busy man these days, keeping up with the Spider-Man gig and starting up on the X-Men stuff soon. He had some penciled covers to show off, and they're magnificent. The amount of detail in the buildings in the background is mind-blowing. They're just some fun covers to look at. He was excited by the villains he's getting to draw on his next go-around, too, so I look forward to seeing what he comes up with there.

Over in the trade paperback department:

DAREDEVIL: THE DEVIL, INSIDE AND OUT is labeled as a first volume, as it's the beginning of the new Brubaker/Lark run on the series. I would have preferred they keep it consistent with the Bendis issue numbering, but who am I to tell Marvel what to do?

PULSE Volume 3: FEAR finally arrives, collecting issues #11-14 of the series, along with NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1. Finally, those of us waiting for the trades will get to see the wedding and the birth.

HEROES REBORN: FANTASTIC FOUR trade paperback gives you the first twelve issues of the Wildstorm-produced Fantastic Four issues from a decade ago. Jim Lee handles art for the first half before passing the baton onto Brett Booth and Ron Lim.

Meanwhile, over at DC:

ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER #6 is in the pipeline (no relation) for October. Isn't it sad how quickly the series has become a joke? You'd have thunk that Frank Miller and Jim Lee would be instant gold. Instead, the series has been dogged by critical snarkiness and perpetual lateness. Sales are still through the roof, so I guess none of that matters. I'm sure DC is only looking at the potential sales figures for the future hardcover presentation of the book, at this point. Don't worry -- they won't lose any money.

Speaking of which: Where's my ABSOLUTE SUPERMAN: FOR TOMORROW book?

A new GOTHAM CENTRAL trade paperback, THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, catches the trade series up to issues #23-25 and #28-31 of the popular and critically-acclaimed Batman Family title. I'm glad they found a way to pull seven issues together for the trade, but those gaps (I presume for crossovers) are slightly annoying. The book is $15.

If you haven't had enough of the Ed McGuinness art, DC wants you to give a SUPERMAN/BATMAN ANNUAL a try. It's written by Joe Kelly, and is scheduled to run 48 pages. Ryan Ottley is also contributing to the book, so I have no idea how many pages each will be doing. It's only $4, though.

If you're still keeping up with the Byrne-era Superman reprints, then you'll be happy to hear that the fifth volume is due out in November. SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL Volume 5 gives you seven more late-80s Superman tales from Byrne, Ordway, et. al. for just $20. Most of these you could likely find in a large enough back issue bin dump for much cheaper, but that would involve more work. I'm sure they were out there on the floor in Chicago last weekend. But the trades looks nicer on the bookshelf.

AQUAMAN: SWORD OF ATLANTIS #46 gets a special nod for featuring artwork from one of my unsung art heroes, Phil Winslade. His style should mesh well with Butch Guice's, who's also contributing to the book. And in November, the first trade collection of the Busiek/Guice era is coming your way.

Wildstorm begins its new lineup of titles in earnest in October. WORLDSTORM #1 has two new six-page stories, plus some pin-ups and bio information on the Wildstorm characters. The real meat starts in GEN13 #1 (by Simone and Caldwell), DEATHBLOW #1 (Azzarello and Carlos D'Anda), THE AUTHORITY #1 (Morrison and Gene Ha), and the five millionth attempt at WETWORKS from Mike Carey and Whilce Portacio. (To be fair, that one starts a month earlier.)

Chuck Dixon's NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET #1 is solicited for October 4, curiously without a names artist. That's rarely a good sign.

PLANETARY #26 is coming, also. You may remember that book. . . I'm waiting for the ABSOLUTE edition at this point, I think.

Speaking of which: THE ABSOLUTE SANDMAN Volume is due out on November 1st. I'm not a fan of the series, but it's an impressive package, nonetheless. It runs 612 pages long, collecting the first twenty issues of the series with all new coloring. Plus: The original script to issue #19 and the complete pencil work of Charles Vess for that issue, plus new text pages from Gaiman and Paul Levitz. It is $100, but I don't think any die-hard SANDMAN fan will have trouble saving their pennies for this thing.

If you want to sample the new coloring, DC is reprinting the first issue of the series for 50 cents as a separate comic. Smart move!


Some quick leftover bits from the convention coverage:

  • In passing by the Activision/Marvel booth on Saturday, I heard some familiar music. I turned around to see a CIVIL WAR trailer playing on one of the LCD screens dotting the booth. I recognized part of the music with it as having come from one of my podcasts!

    Then, I realized that whoever put the trailer together did the same thing I did -- used Apple's Garageband's basic set of loops to create the music. He (or she) just happened to use the same loop as I did. No rip-offs, either way.

    And THAT, my friend, is why amateurs doing music with Garageband will always recognize each other!

  • As you crossed the train tracks to the convention each day, the local newspaper (San Diego Union Tribune, I believe) had people hawking copies of their daily edition, featuring special Comic Con coverage. I doubted the efficiency of this exercise, since most people crossing those train tracks were just leaving their hotels, which left copies of a newspaper outside each door.
  • I always love the flight home from Comic-Con. There's nothing more fun that watching people with light sabers as carry-on items.

    This year, Dark Horse's big yellow bags replaced previous years' TokyoPop oversized bags as the carry-on baggage of choice. TokyoPop's promo comic was also much thinner this year. Does manga no longer need that big push? Is TokyoPop being smarter about its promotions budget? Is there a belt-tightening happening there? Or am I reading far too much into this?

  • Finally, I leave you with the rarest of all pictures from the floor of the convention. I doubt you've seen this image anywhere else. I give to you -- empty floor space on the con floor during open hours!

    This is the spot at the far end of the hall where the art auction was held over the weekend. They hadn't set the stage or chairs up for it yet when Preview Night started. This was the last time you would see 100 square feet of floor space to run around in for the rest of the weekend. I had to take the picture.

Next week: More PREVIEWS, and I hope some reviews. We've got a lot of catching up to do.

The Pipeline Podcast has its own homepage now. The podcast, itself, updates every Tuesday night. The show notes for it are updated at some point later in the week.

My blog, Various and Sundry, features a lot of Rock Star: INXS and Big Brother talk, but also a lot of Apple news for the week. We've even got funny videos, fun web games to play, and new DVD releases to track. Please do stop by!

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 700 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically.

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